Safe Surfing for Children - Free
It is not the purpose of this page to moralise on the pros and cons of censorship versus protecting children from content that parents do not deem fit for their childrens' viewing. Here are two free, fast and easy solutions to controlling web content.
The details provided here are for information only and no endorsement for any product should be inferred. Note also that, due to its nature, content filtering can and does filter desirable content, and that it can and does allow on occasions, undesirable content.
Bess is a product of N2H2. From the N2H2 website: "... Bess Internet filtering software helps protect more students & library users online from inappropriate or illegal Internet content than any other filter."
bess.net provides a free, high-speed, transparent (not anonymous) public proxy filtering service, which is probably suitable for very young children. The bess.net public proxy has very tight filtering rules that cannot be customised by the public user. bess.net's default filtering rules are:
ADULT: Material labeled by its author or publisher as being strictly for adults. (Examples: "Adults only", "You must be 18 to visit this site", "Registration is allowed only for people 18 or older", "You must be of legal drinking age to visit this site").
ALCOHOL: Advocating or promoting recreational use of alcohol. (See also "Adults Only.")
CHAT: Chat sites, services that allow short messages to be sent to others immediately in real time. Downloadable chat software. (See also Moderated)
DISCRIM: Advocating discrimination against others based on race, religion, gender, nationality, or sexual orientation. DRUGS:Advocating or promoting recreational use of any controlled substance. (Also see Illegal)
FREEMAIL: Sites that offer e-mail accounts over the Web for free. Such sites can expose users to harmful content delivered via e-mail file attachments. Blocking such sites also helps to enforce local acceptable-use policies when e-mail is already provided locally to users.
FREEPAGES: Sites where home page space is offered for free. These sites historically have done nothing to prevent capricious abuse of their services by users who post offensive content under multiple pseudonyms, making them difficult to track. Individual pages that have been reviewed by N2H2 on such sites are removed from this category, but filed under other categories as necessary.
GAMBLING: Gambling services, or information relevant primarily to gambling.
GROSS: Bodily functions. Tasteless humor. Graphic medical photos. Some extreme forms of body modification (cutting, branding, genital piercing).
ILLEGAL: Advocating, promoting, or giving advice on carrying out acts widely considered illegal. This includes lock-picking, bomb-making, fraud, breaching computer security ("hacking"), phone service theft ("phreaking"), pirated software archives, or evading law enforcement.
LANGUAGE: Crude, vulgar, or obscene language or gestures.
LINGERIE: Models in lingerie (except those that qualify for Nudity).
NUDITY: Bare or visible genitalia, pubic hair, buttocks, female breasts, etc. (See also Swimsuits, Lingerie, Sex, Pornography)
PERSONALINFO: Sites that gather personal information (name, address, phone number, etc.).
PERSONALS: Personal advertisements, including "mail-order brides." (See also "Adults Only.")
PORN: Material intended to be sexually arousing or erotic. (See also Sex and Nudity)
SCHOOLCHEAT: Any site that promotes plagiarism or similar cheating among students (such as by offering term papers, exam keys, etc.)
SEX: Images or descriptions of sexual activity. Any sexual merchandise. Sexual fetishism. (See also Pornography and Nudity)
SUIDER: Information on committing murder or suicide.
TOBACCO: Advocating or promoting recreational use of tobacco. (See also "Adults Only.")
VIOLENCE: Graphic images or written descriptions of wanton violence or grave injury (mutilation, maiming, dismemberment, etc.) Includes graphically violent games.
WEAPONS:Information on use of weapons, weapon collecting, or weapon making.
EDUCATION: Material under another category (such as Sex, Nudity, Violence) that has educational value (such as classic literature, sex education, etc.)
FORKIDS: Sites that are designed specifically for kids.
Block search engine results based on key words.
Block urls based on key words.
How to Connect to bess.net
In Internet Explorer, select Tools > Internet Options > Connections Tab > LAN Settings button > check "Use a proxy server..." > enter the proxy server IP and port address.
The bess.net IP address and port numbers are:
NOTE: Not all of the IPs and ports listed have been tested. You should assume that the author of this page has not tested any of the IPs and port numbers.
To check that the proxy is functioning, visit the proxy tester at all-nettools. The service will tell you if a proxy has been detected, and if so, which one.
From the we-blocker website: "Our absolutely free software protects you and your family from sexually charged sites and any other web based material you may find inappropriate."
We-Blocker is free, but requires registration to prevent advertisements. Registration is obligation free. The software provides a comprehensive list of potentially offensive web sites, which is regularly updated, and also performs blocking based on content.
We-Blocker filtering controls are fully customisable and can be applied on a per-user basis, with master account over-ride support.
NOTE: Customisation of We-Blocker's word list may be required. By default, the content filtering mechanism actualy blocks www.surfsafely.com due to the presence of the words "Free Pic" and "Hard".
You may also like to consider reviewing www.surfsafely.com with a view to setting it as your child's default homepage.
Other Free Filtering Tools
Two other free filtering tools were considered for listing on this page but were rejected on the grounds that one company appeared to be very active in threatening legal action against certain others for criticising the company's refusal to publish its blocking lists. Another tool required the user to think up their own dirty words, and was thus considered as substandard. Visit www.google.com to search for other free filtering software if the two different mechanisms listed here are unsuitable.
Additional Protection for your Children
Use Your HOSTS File to Block Ads and Prevent Redirects
To filter additional ads and to stop redirects, parasites, dialers and hijackers, visit mvps.org and download the hosts file from their Blocking Unwanted Ads with a Hosts File page. Save the file as “hosts” with NO extension into the “C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\ETC” directory. That’s all you have to do.
WARNING: If you have had to modify the hosts file at some point in the past, be careful not to overwrite any earlier changes.
This filtering mechanism is highly recommended. It causes your browser to look for known pornography and tracking sites as if they were on IP address 127.0.0.1, your local machine. This means that any website listed in the HOSTS file will be redirected to 127.0.0.1 and thus will not be found by your browser.
Use Internet Explorer's Restricted Zone Feature
Visit mvps.org and read their Adding Sites to the Restricted Zone page. Download entries for suspect sites. From the website: "You can manually add an entry to the Restricted Zone or use the pre-made reg file that contains most of the major ad servers, hijackers, dialers and parasites. This will help prevent "drive-by" installs of unwanted software."